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We’re HOME after 10 days in South Africa!!

10 Days in South Africa

Jesse and I were blessed to get to spend the last 10 days in South Africa with an amazing group of people who applied through my blog to join this trip and be advocates for the work that is being done in South Africa through Take Action Ministry and Help One Now.

10 Days in South Africa

These individuals came from all over the US and Canada. None of us had ever met in person. Most of the advocates didn’t know a soul on the trip.

But they invested money, made many family sacrifices, flew halfway around the world, and gave up 10 days to spend time learning about the work in South Africa.

10 Days in South Africa

The week was a dream come true for me. To get the opportunity to share about one of my greatest passions in life with others and to have them experience it firsthand was an incredible thing!

I wasn’t sure what it would be like to travel with a group of people whom I didn’t know beforehand. I wondered how it would work…

Would people get overwhelmed by the long days? Would everyone get along? What if some people had bad attitudes or complained? What if people got sick? What if personalities clashed — especially while we were in such tight quarters for long van rides?

10 Days in South Africa

I just have to say, this group was amazing! They came with gracious spirits, flexible attitudes, the willingness to jump outside their comfort zone, encouraging words, and great senses of humor.

Even though there was a lot of diversity among us, the camaraderie was incredible. By the end of the trip, we had experienced so much together and had really gotten to know each other very well.

10 Days in South Africa

We’d laughed together, cried together, prayed together, encouraged each other, listened to one another, had our hearts broken together over the need, saw God show up in powerful ways together, worshipped together, and also did a lot of teasing of one another.

I’m humbled and grateful and will cherish the memories of this trip for months and years to come!

What would you love for me to blog about?

We arrived home yesterday afternoon and I’m still working on catching up on sleep, time with the kids, and laundry, but I’m excited to share many stories and pictures from our trip in the next two weeks!

What would you especially love for me to blog about from our trip? I’d love to know as I’m planning and outlining upcoming posts!

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40 Comments

  • Brandette says:

    I would love to see pictures of what all your guys did as a group, where did you go, what did you see, how is the progress coming on donations your readers gave to build there, what was life like as a big group going through a different country together?

  • Meg says:

    Hi Crystal! Welcome home! One thing that I’d like to see posted as a result of your trip are photos that depict the differences between South Africa and the USA. I’m a teacher and I think your service to others brings potential for a deeper level of awareness of just how different things (water access, food availability, education, wages, health care, etc.) can be in other countries. This could potentially lead into several interesting social studies and/or religion classes as well as a super engaging intro to service project ideas for this fall. Thank you!!!

  • Laura says:

    The food you ate! How close is the kind of grocery store we are used to here in the USA? Or is there none? Is everything made from scratch?

    • I took a TON of photos from two different nice grocery stores to show differences in what they eat and what their grocery stores sell… look for that post soon!

      And I’ll be talking about the hunger problems and how our friends in South Africa are working hard at eliminating this problem and providing nutritional solutions for the many children who would otherwise have little to nothing to eat.

  • Jennifer says:

    I’d love to know more about the people that went with you. WHY did they go.

  • Beth says:

    What ideas do you have for starting on a journey towards getting more involved with missions? What ideas do you have for getting kids involved? I truly believe that, as women especially, our hearts are happiest when wear are generous: creating, producing, giving of ourselves. Yet, the jump to getting involved is vague and hard to get a grasp on.

    I should add that our church has mission outreach, but I guess what I’m hoping you could add is the human, woman to woman side of it- what you would tell me if we were sitting and having coffee.

    So glad your trip was a success! Blessings!

    • Karen D says:

      I’m interested in the practical aspect of food and what you bring with you. I eat very carefully for my system to function well, from necessity. We went on a family mission trip last fall where we had no access to a grocery store. The meals were prepared for us and my system didn’t like it (not very healthy food w very few fruits and vegetables). We are going again next month and I’m trying to plan what to bring that is allowable in my suitcase ( even like a hotpot and oatmeal). Thanks.

    • I wrote a post with some ideas of ways to give and reach out — even if you don’t have any money — that might be a good starting point? https://moneysavingmom.com/2015/02/make-difference-no-money-passport-required.html

      I’ll also be sharing a post in the next two weeks with ideas of ways to be involved in South Africa if you’re interested.

      • Beth says:

        Oh gosh. This is perfect. Honestly, if timing had been different, I would have loved to join you. I love the ideas in the post–I must have either missed it or forgotten about it before! And, as a shy introverted person, the challenge of many of the things you suggest is taking the time to introduce myself to the neighbor, friend, mama, etc…to build relationships…which, of course I learned today was the WHOLE POINT of your trip. 🙂

  • Joanne Peterson says:

    The people you met, the needs, how the building is making a difference. The culture, and living conditions, what you learned from this trip this time. I’m interested in the whole trip!

  • Karen says:

    I’d love to hear about the ministries you visited and the impact they are having.

  • Rosanna says:

    Welcome back home, Crystal! I’m so glad that your trip went so well. I’d love to hear more about exactly how you served while you were in Africa.

  • Pam Luthy says:

    Welcome home! You sure were missed! I’d love to hear about the food you ate and an update on how things were compared to your last visit.

  • Welcome back! My family has been following your trip through Instagram and my little ones LOVED seeing the elephants! They felt like those animals were racing towards them too. I know you could do numerous posts on the culture, food, atmosphere, cutting travel costs, and so forth, but I would love to read more about the children you helped. Thank you for all you do!

  • Wow! It looks and sounds like you had an amazing trip! I’d love to hear more about the people you visited, and also, I’d love to hear from the people who went on the trip. I’d love to know more about them, their “why” and their overall experience!

  • Debbi says:

    My home country! Where in SA were you (from one of the photos, you were in Pretoria/ Tshwane)? I’m now living in Toronto and haven’t been back in years, would love to hear your overall impressions of the country and the state of affairs in general.

  • Dawn says:

    I would love to hear stories from the people who traveled with you. Why did they choose to go? What previous experience did they have? How did this trip change them?

  • Nichole says:

    What an amazing opportunity. How was the flight, food in SA, etc.? We’re traveling to SA in Feb 2017. Interested to hear all the details.

  • Melody Benschoter says:

    Welcome back! I’m looking forward to hearing all about your trip! So amazing. I do have a question. You’ve mentioned before that you’ve never had a credit card. How do you handle international travel with no credit card? Do you carry enough cash? Use a debit card? Pre paid cards? I’m just wondering about the logistics!

    • We just use a debit card + cash for traveling — both domestically and internationally. It’s never been an issue for us. We always notify our bank ahead of time so that they know to expect some charges from another country.

  • Renee says:

    I would love to hear about the children and how all of this has an impact on their little life’s. Being a mother of 6 ages ranging from 26 to 1 of course I pray for all of Gods children and that they don’t suffer.

  • Sarah Thompson says:

    I have recently become aware of racial issues between the black community and the Boer community. The violence and hate messages are strong from what I have read, and this is towards a white population of 40 million who has cultivated the dessert, brought the gospel, taught locals, and built the economy. This concerns me as I watch issues in the USA, too. Did you have any conversations enlightening this topic?

    • Megan says:

      There are about 4 million Whites living in South Africa out of a total population of approximately 54 million people. There are racial tensions on multiple “sides” in South Africa. One might expect some anti-White sentiment since the country was subject to a White-minority-run, non-democratic regime (apartheid), which was highly oppressive and racist, and lasted until 1994.

  • Danielle says:

    I’ve really enjoyed all of your stories so far about your trip…thanks for sharing with us! I was wondering where you got the grey sleeveless shirt/dress you wore with the black leggings and aqua scarf…it’s so cute! Thank you!!

  • JoAnna says:

    My husband went on a mission trip to Uganda this summer with our church. He loved it so much, wants to live there! We are praying about that, but for now we are staying here in the U.S. to serve. Love all your pictures and stories from your trip!

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